Reality Check – Family Life through the Eyes of a Child

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Guide
  • When our son’s reflux is at its worst, it is easy for my husband and I to worry about the overall effect his illness may have on our family. Like many parents, we built our family with pretty idealistic expectations for daily living. Multiple dosages of medication, special foods, and sleepless nights were left out of the family portrait we once imagined for our family.

    Fortunately, children and adolescents are much more realistic about families. These findings are supported in recent research conducted by Andrea Rigg and Jan Pryor (Children & Society, 2007). In order to make their conclusions about the ways in which younger people view families, these researchers interviewed over 100 children and adolescents of various cultural backgrounds.

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    Rigg and Pryor found some interesting information that may relate to your family if you are living with a chronic illness like reflux. For example, 100 percent of the children in their study responded that “family” is important to them. What is even more interesting, is the way in which the children defined “family.” The majority of these young people used emotional factors to define family. For example, they said things like, “Family is made of people who care for and love you, and are there for you.”

    The children in this peer-reviewed, scientific research seemed to have a much more accepting view of what makes a family, as compared to many of the adults I know. One of the conclusions made by the authors at the end of the research was, “children and adolescents have quite an inclusive and realistic view of what constitutes a family.”

    So when you are lying in bed in the middle of the night, worried about your family, keep in mind that love, care, support and nurturing may be the family qualities most important to young people.


Published On: June 10, 2007